I have previously posted information about my wife, Ellen’s great grandfather, the Rev. Louis Henry Wagner. Louis’ father, the Rev. Jacob Wagner died a week after Louis had celebrated his first birthday in 1858. Margaret (nee Hailer) Wagner was left a young widow with two small children – Louis and his older sister Catherine. Census records indicated that Margaret first returned to her parental home in Berlin, Ontario (her parents were the first German born settlers in Berlin, now Kitchener, Ontario, an area now famous for its German heritage). Four years after her husband’s death, Margaret married again, this time to Daniel Bean, a country school teacher who lived in Blandford, Ontario, some distance from Berlin.
Although Louis Wagner initially went with his mother and his step-father Daniel, he returned to Berlin a few years later to live with his aunt and uncle, Phillip Ludwig ‘Louis’ and Catherine Breithaupt. The book,written in 1895 by the Rev. A. J. Fretz and published in 1896 by News Printing House, entitled A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Christian and Hans Meyer and other pioneers: Together with Historical and Biographical Sketches, referred to in yesterday post, helps fill in the blanks on what happened next in Louis’ life.
“An uncle after whom he was named, and his grandfather Jacob Hailer, of Berlin, took quite an interest in the lad, and with a view of giving him a better education offered him a home in their families, which he accepted, and when 13 years old left his mother’s home to attend the Central school at Berlin.Three years later he passed the examination and attended the High school, continuing several years. An idea to get into business life possessed him so he entered the employ of his uncle, Louis Breithaupt, as an apprentice tanner, remaining with him two years, also learning the trade of leather belt making during that time. The desire for for still better educational attainments now again made themselves strongly felt, and he received permission to attend Northwestern College, an institution of the Evangelical Association at Napierville, Ill., where he remained three years, after which, in the Summer of 1878, he again entered the employ of his uncle as clerk in the leather and shoe findings department, and later as bookkeeper and traveling salesman.”
Although Rev. Fretz referred to Louis’ college years, he didn’t mention that Louis graduated from Northwestern as a land surveyor. In an upcoming post, I will share Rev. Fretz’ account of Louis’ calling to the ministry.